I really enjoyed the honesty with which Bonnie told her personal story it really engaged me, and I think that is the key for blogging, I now have some work to do reading Wesley Fryer’s ebook ‘Playing with Media’. Giving of yourself, to engage your audience. It takes a while to gain the confidence to ‘put yourself out there’ ie write your personal story on a blog that could potentially be seen by anyone but I think that the more you ‘give’ the more you get.
As a trainer I have come to realise that it is you and your ‘honesty’- being yourself, that people connect with when you are training. They can smell an imposter a mile off. If you give of yourself, whether it is your perspective or your story you will engage them, then you deliver the content.
How do we do this online? Just the same as we do face to face, but we have more time to think about it – don’t overanalyse it though, as this takes away the – individuality.
When I first started blogging I was guided by Sarah Stewart, she is a midwife based in New Zealand who was facilitating FO2010 an online facilitation course (which is also being offered in 2012). She gave (& still gives) very personal perspectives, experiences and stories. At first I considered this a little too personal, I suppose I expected her to be more ‘serious and sensible’. In retrospect I can see how her style; both on her blog and in online interactions (to date I have not met Sarah face to face) is ‘her style’. Sarah truly reflects who she is and that’s okay, in fact that is better than okay because she engages me. If I have 100 blogs to read on Google Reader I will check Sarah's latest posts. Another key techique that Sarah does in her blogposts is ‘ask questions’ she prompts readers to comment so as to generate, what I believe Brandon calls, ‘distributed conversations’.
I think Todd engaged us in the Blackboard Elluminate tutorial because his introduction showed us where he is, the physical space around him, the office. Who cares what Todd’s office looks like? Not me, but yes me. I didn’t need to see Todd’s office to understand how to blog better but it engaged me as it was how he invited me into his personal space. In many ways we can make an online connnection more personal than if we were in a face to face environment.
Alec Couros gave us a personal insight to himself, with family photos. I would suggest that the You Tube viral videos he showed were so popular because the subjects give an insight into themselves, whether it is their sensitivity (to being bitten on the finger by their little brother 'Charlie) or their silly side.
So what am I getting at here? Good question! I think I am trying to say that regardless of the tool, you need to find a way (that is yours) of being you. We can learn all the tricks and techniques for blogging, or tweeting or Googl+ing, but you need to make it work for you….whether you are feeding in (reading, listening, watching) or feeding out (blogging, sharing, recording, facilitating, training).
I am interested to hear your thoughts, do you feel that giving a personal perspective engages readers or is it too risky to put 'yourself out there' into cyberspace?